30,000 gov't nurses entitled to backpay after DBM circular reversed: group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 08 2021 11:46 AM

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MANILA - Some 30,000 government nurses are entitled to backpay after Malacañang overturned a circular issued by the Department of Budget and Management, a nurses' association said Tuesday.

Filipino Nurses United vice president Leni Nolasco said government nurses should receive a salary adjustment after the agency's circular last year raised the salaries of entry-level nurses but effectively demoted senior nurses.

"Halos isang taon rin kaming nanawagan at ipinakita ang kawalan ng hustisya ng kanilang ruling at ngayon lang nakita ang katotohanan ng aming mga posisyon," she told Teleradyo.

(We called for them to address this injustice for nearly a year and now the truth has come out.)

DBM Circular No. 2020-4, issued on July 17, 2020, raised the nurses' entry pay to Salary Grade 15 or P32,000 from Salary Grade 11 or P22,000. However, the same circular demoted the positions of Nurses 2 to 7 by a rank lower while retaining their salary level.

"Sabi ng DBM, hindi daw po demotion 'yon kundi position classification o kaya compression. Binago-bago nila ang salita pero effectively demotion po ang nangyari," Nolasco said.

(The DBM said it was not a demotion but a position classification or compression. They changed the words but effectively it was still a demotion.)

On June 1, the Office of the President released a memorandum overturning the DBM circular that increases the salary grade of Nurse 2 positions and retains the position titles of Nurse 3 to Nurse 7 with their corresponding salary grades.

In response to the directive, the FNU hailed it as a "twin-victory" that was a result of a year-long campaign against "unfair provisions" of the DBM circular.

For Nolasco, the wages nurses receive are not enough as they work in the frontlines of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Hindi pa ho 'yan sapat. Napakaliit lamang 'yan kung titingnan 'yong contribution ng kanilang ginagawa," she said.

(It's not enough. It's inadequate compared to their contribution.)